Saunders Victory Sparks Super-Middleweight Speculation

By Mark Whalley

Billy Joe Saunders bt Matthew Hall (Unanimous Points Decision 12)

Former Olympian Billy Joe Saunders maintained his unbeaten status with a comfortable points victory over the game Matthew Hall at the iconic York Hall on Thursday night.

In doing so, the Hatfield southpaw defended his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles, and improved his record to 17 wins and no defeats.

Saunders looked in control from the first bell, and appeared on more than one occasion to be on the verge of stopping Hall, but the Mancunian lived up to his “Little Bull” nickname, showing grit and determination to go the distance.

He even mounted attacks of his own in the fifth and the seventh, but for the most part Saunders controlled the action and the pace of the contest.

The three judges were in agreement, posting scores of 119-110, 120-108 and 120-109.

While Saunders’ amateur pedigree was apparent, he also seemed to have a considerable size advantage over an opponent more accustomed to fighting at light-middleweight.

Indeed, after the fight, promoter Frank Warren speculated that Saunders may need to move up to super-middleweight as his body continues to fill out.

This raises the prospect of a dust-up with former Warren charge “Saint” George Groves.

However Groves – who’s split from Warren is said to be amicable and who’s next tune-up fight against Baker Barakat on Saturday will even be broadcast on Warren’s Boxnation TV network – clearly sees himself above domestic level now.

And Saunders might be better-served staying at middleweight and trying to force himself into the intriguing multi-way domestic rivalry between Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray.

Meanwhile, Ellesmere Port prospect Paul Butler recorded a TKO victory in the final round of his four-round contest with punching bag Anwar Alfadli.

Butler is highly-regarded amongst the British boxing fraternity, and will be eager to test himself against sturdier opposition in the near future.